Star Sushi presents diners with another reason to feast in Marina.
Thursday, April 6, 2000
Marina as a dining destination? Somehow the concept hadn''t exactly seen the dawn in my culinary consciousness. That is until recently, when I decided to spend a good chunk of a day investigating MoCo''s northern corridor. Now more than ever, as I discovered, an expanded range of dining options are turning up in locales that have formerly been overlooked. If you''re thinking about getting out of town for lunch or dinner, it might be time to think Marina.
My mood ring read "sushi" as my dining companion and I turned our appetites to the north. Time flies; I thought it impossible that Star Sushi has already been sushi-fying this part of the county for six months. Although we were remiss in not making the visit sooner, our raw fish outing was declared top-notch. Located in the Cypress Point Plaza, the interior is clean and spare. The sushi bar seats six and there are three booth-style tables. When the word gets out about sushi master David Larsen''s skill and artistry with the hocho that he wields like a paintbrush, more seats will be required.
For 10 years, Larsen sliced and diced behind the bar at Ichi Riki in Seaside, and that''s after growing up near Japan Town in San Francisco and working some good houses on that end of the bay. Some 16 years in the business later, he injects a uniquely eclectic and artful flair from his own venue.
Star SushiAddress: 3056 Del Monte Blvd.,
Suite 107, Marina, 384-3760
Hours: 12-9pm and later Monday-Friday, 4-10pm Saturday, closed Sunday
Average price of dinner for two:
After launching into a bowl of MSG-free, totally organic miso soup, we sampled Larsen''s wares with the Number 2 sushi assortment, six pieces of sushi and a handroll, cut in six pieces, made with the chef''s choice of fish. Apart from a dread of embarrassing my companion, my spasmodic incompetence with chopsticks did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for the plate put before us-a plate that was as delicious to look at as it was to consume. Three pieces of California roll, filled with krab (surimi) and avocado was fresh and flavorful, with perfectly seasoned rice. The "Star Kissed" spicy tuna roll was died-and-gone-to-heaven-good-the chef marinates the tuna, we learned, in something he calls "Baja juice," a mixture of fish roe and green onions, and the result is loaded with flavor. Precision cuts of yellowtail, sea bream, steamed shrimp, hamachi, ahi and marinated mackerel adorned equally symmetrical globs of rice, all at peak freshness, all for $12.50. The sea bream was a new one on me, and one that I''m delighted to induct into my repertoire.
Next stop was the Tsunami Roll. Presented in a wave-like arrangement just like its namesake, the flavor will hit you and knock you happily to your knees-as long as you''re partial to broiled eel, as we are. (Our chopsticks broke out into a duel over the last piece.) The roll is filled with Japanese cucumber, krab and flying fish roe, with the eel served warm and fanned out on top of the rice, a deal at $6.50.
There are few earthly pleasures that compare with the combined sensory effect of icy sashimi met with a one-two punch of soy and wasabi and a hit of sake. Star offers several styles of beer and sake, and the chilled Nigori milk sake, almost like a light-bodied smoothie, was a perfect accompaniment, at $2.50.
There are many things to recommend this waiting-to-be-discovered Marina jewel. Along with using organic ingredients wherever possible, this is a sushi master with an advanced level of knowledge and skill for the art and culture found in this type of cuisine-and a proficiency in sushi presentation that approaches showpiece theater. The next time I go back, it will be for "The Dragon," a whole eel replete with horns, wings and scales. Here is sushi in 3-D.